Competing / Team events
A vaulting team consists of a lunger, horse, six vaulters (male and female) plus one alternate vaulter (optional) who must enter and line up with the team.
Team competitions are made up of two rounds. During the first round, teams perform a six-minute compulsory and a four minute freestyle test in an attempt to qualify for the second round where they perform a single freestyle test. No more than three vaulters may be on the horse at any one time.
Individual competitions are made up of two rounds. Vaulters perform the compulsory and freestyle tests in the first round in order to qualify for the final/second round. CVI1* competitions are usually only made up of one round. In CVI 2*, both rounds consist of compulsory and freestyle. In CVI3*, the vaulters have three tests: compulsory, freestyle and technical test. The technical test is performed in the second round along with a second freestyle. Individual vaulters have only one minute for their freestyle performances. At all competitions and levels, men and women compete separately.
Two vaulters perform a freestyle programme held over one or two rounds. A Junior Pas-de-deux freestyle lasts 1'30 and a Senior Pas-de-deux freestyle 2'00. Only the Pas-de-deux 1* competitions have a compulsory test.
Helmets and Vaulting
It is widely known that helmets should not be used when vaulting, but less widely understood why.
Helmets should not be used for vaulting. The straps of a helmet are designed and tested to not stretch or break which makes them a hanging hazard in a vaulting environment for all but the most basic positions, or any time multiple people are on the horse. Helmets with break-away straps (if such a thing even existed) would still not be safe for vaulting as a dislodged helmet could turn an otherwise minor fall into a severe neck injury. No helmet manufacturer today makes a helmet that is designed or certified for vaulting. However, all persons riding a horse, instead of vaulting, must wear a helmet since riding occurs near walls and other hard objects, and not on a consistent circle.